Welcome to my blog!  Each week I post new thoughts on worshiping God through a transformed life in Jesus Christ. I also invite you to check out my brand new book “The Isaiah Encounter: Living an Everyday Life of Worship” on Amazon and at selected bookstores (Published by Morgan James Publishing)

Last weekend I led worship and spoke at a retreat in western Minnesota. What made this event unique was that it was wrapped around fishing, and was attended by men and their sons. I arrived very early Saturday, and after leading morning worship was invited to go fishing with the entire group. There were several boats staffed by experienced guides, and I was assigned to one piloted by Dustin and Charlie, a man and his son. A ninth-grader, Charlie had landed a 39-inch Northern Pike the night before (it looked large enough to be a log!)  He told me fishing was his favorite sport, and he wanted to be a pro fisherman someday.  Dusty and Charlie were both skilled and accomplished fishermen.  I had never met them before and was a little intimidated about being with experts, as I am not one myself. Once the boat was in the water, the tension melted away. Dusty and I discovered we had a lot in common, and soon realized that God put us in the same boat for a good reason.

The next few hours were spent talking about God, our lives and families, and the plans God had for us. We talked about the importance of paying attention to God and obeying his promptings through the big and small moments of each day.  We spoke of living a life that displays our worship of the Lord Jesus Christ. We discussed potential ministry opportunities, and how important it is to listen to God and go ‘all in’ him when he calls you to act. From family missions trips to his family, Dusty told me his motto was “Go big or go home.”

And we caught fish! Charlie led the way with some large northern pike and a sheepshead. Dusty reeled in a large, 29-inch northern.  I had no expectations of catching anything but was thrilled to catch a nice-sized walleye, a beautiful crappie, and a northern. Dusty took pictures of us with the fish we caught so there would be no accusations of tall fish stories.

After a few hours on the lake, the heat of the day started to set in, and the fish decided they were no longer interested in the bait we were offering. We decided to call it a morning and brought the boat back to the public access. There were several “keepers” in the live well as we put the boat back on the trailer and headed back to the retreat center. Our expectation was to bring the fish back to be cleaned and given to people at the event who were in need.

But God had another thing in mind.

About halfway back to our destination, Dusty interrupted our conversation soon after we crossed a bridge and picnic area. He quickly turned the vehicle around and parked in a lot near a family sitting at a picnic table.

He said, “I think God is prompting me to do something for these people.”

We got out of the car and walked over to the large family. He asked, “Do you like fish?” We quickly realized the dad didn’t speak English, but one of his young daughters talked to him in his native language, and then said: “YES!” Dusty told them that we had some fish we wanted to give them, and the father looked both elated and stunned.

Hurriedly, Charlie got in the boat, reach into the live well and pulled out 2 of the largest fish we had caught. The young children were amazed, and they gave us high-fives as we handed the fish to them in a bucket that could barely contain them. The father and mother were grateful, even as they didn’t have the English words to express it.

I said, “Viva con Dios” (“Go with God”) to the man as we got back into SUV and headed to our destination. Now I don’t know anything about the family we met, but I suspect they needed the fish we shared with them.
Why” Because God led us to them.

Worship is about following God’s lead, going big, and giving big when he prompts you. When God gives you big fish, they’re probably not just for you, but also for other people He puts in your path. The apostle Paul put it this way:

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35

I was privileged to be in the same boat with these two men, Dusty and “Big Time” Charlie.  They reminded me that giving big is a natural result and outflow of what God has poured into our lives.

May God lead you to worship Him in the big and little moments of your life!

God bless you!

Chris Atkins